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Program formats

The M.S.W. Program offers multiple enrollment options to best meet student needs and goals.

Regular standing options

On-campus full-time (two years)

The on-campus full-time format entails that students enroll in four three-credit courses and one three-credit field internship each semester over four continuous semesters, ultimately completing 60 credit hours. After one year of foundational study, students enroll in specialized courses in the concentrations of clinical social work practice or social work administration, planning and policy practice. Students will complete a total of two practice internships, one in the foundation year and another in the concentration year.

On-campus part-time (three to four years)

The part-time format gives students the flexibility to complete their degree requirements over a four-year period, with six credits taken each semester. Part-time students complete the two required internships during the second and fourth years of study, making full-time employment during this time very difficult. The part-time program cannot be completed entirely at nights and on weekends due to field placement requirements and daytime scheduling of some concentration courses.

Part-time M.S.W. Program policies

Advanced standing (one year)

The advanced standing program is open to applicants who have earned a B.S.W. degree during the previous five years and a total GPA of 3.0. This program leads to a Master of Social Work upon completion of 42 credit hours, taken over the course of three continuous semesters (summer, fall and spring).

Students complete 12 credits of foundation study in the summer, which includes three classes and a field placement. Classes are typically held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and field work takes place on Thursdays and Fridays. Advanced standing students have only one field placement, which runs through the summer, fall and spring semesters for 21 hours per week. After completion of the summer session, advanced standing students join students in the regular program to complete the concentration curriculum in the fall and spring.

Advanced standing is a full-time program only and cannot be pursued on a part-time basis. Field internships are available in Richmond or the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Distance education options

Distance education full-time (two years)

M.S.W. distance education full-time format entails that students enroll in four three-credit courses and one three-credit field internship each semester over four continuous semesters, ultimately completing 60 credit hours. Curriculum will be delivered through a hybrid of online and in-person instruction. After one year of foundational study, students enroll in specialized courses concentrating on clinical social work practice. Students will complete a total of two practice internships, one in the foundation year and another in the concentration year.

Students must attend two mandatory on-campus meetings per semester at the School of Social Work. The only other mandatory in-person requirement is the first-year orientation in August.

Distance education part-time (four years)

M.S.W. distance education part-time format allows students to earn their M.S.W. degree over a four-year period. With curriculum delivered through a hybrid of online and in-person instruction, distance education is designed to fit a variety of personal and familial obligations and individual needs. Students enrolled in distance education have the same access to the resources, benefits and services of the M.S.W. Program.

Students must attend two mandatory on-campus meetings per semester at the School of Social Work. The only other mandatory in-person requirement is the first-year orientation in August.

Distance education curriculum

Dual-degree and certificate offerings

Students can combine their M.S.W. degree program of study with other programs to earn special certificates or additional degrees. The M.S.W. with certificate option is offered in combination with aging studies, nonprofit management and school social work. Dual-degree study combines the M.S.W. with law, divinity or public health degrees. Learn more about each of these programs on the VCU Bulletins website: